Belfast Telegraph

Driving towards a challenging future

By John Simpson

LINDSAY Cars was a main dealer for new Ford cars in a large part of the Northern Ireland vehicle market. Trading in 2012 was in a difficult and challenging market.

In October 2012, the complete share capital of Lindsay Cars was acquired by Ford Retail 'for nil consideration'. From January 2013 the trading arrangements, as part of the Ford network, will have little direct high street impact although the trading results will presumably be subsumed in the larger group.

In the last six years, turnover at Lindsay Cars has fallen.

Operating profit margins continued to be squeezed last year as a consequence of the more difficult market conditions affecting new car sales. For the second consecutive year, in 2012 the business reported an operating loss of £0.09m compared to an operating profit of £1.2m in 2010.

Pre-tax profits are, each year, lower than operating profits because of the deduction of net interest payments on the funds borrowed through the financing arrangements of the Ford Group of companies.

The pre-tax loss in 2012 was £0.5m compared to a loss of £1.1m in 2011. The value of vehicles held in stock at the year-end fell to just under £25.8m compared to £29.6m at the end of 2011 and £27.9m at the end of 2010.

Average employment varied only a little from year to year but fell marginally by 5% in 2012 to 385 people.

No dividends to shareholders were declared in any of the last five years.

Year-to-year changes in the value of shareholders' funds have reflected the retention of post-tax profits or losses but have also been influenced by changes in the balance sheet valuation of land and property. In 2008, an unrealised gain of £1.6m was added to the figures. In 2010 the position was reversed when an unrealised loss of £2.5m was deducted. Then in 2012 another unrealised loss of £0.2 was recorded.

The directors report that, in 2013, their task for the future development of the company is 'to continue its existence and review its use.' The report says that the headcount has risen and is now 750.

Belfast Telegraph